Facebook Ireland has announced an initiative to train more than 10,000 small businesses in Ireland by 2021 to support their recovery from the challenges posed by Covid-19. The Boost with Facebook program will provide digital skills training to help businesses grow their online footprint, establish an online shop front, connect with new customers, and reach new audiences. .
Facebook will also offer specific training in industries hit hard by the pandemic, in particular retail and tourism. On 24 June, Facebook in partnership with Retail Excellence will deliver training to Irish retailers on how to find new customers and create a virtual storefront for products and services. A similar session for the tourism sector is planned in September. Businesses can register for training by visiting the new Facebook Training Website in Ireland which is also home to virtual on-demand training as well as upcoming sessions hosted throughout the year. Enterprise Nation.
Facebook’s latest State of Small Business report shows that of Irish businesses that remained open during the pandemic, 62% experienced lower sales, and 25% reduced employment. Although, while 32% of SMEs reported having to close their business, this has dropped significantly from 58% reporting closures when the survey was last conducted in July 2020.
A life line for many businesses during the pandemic has been a transition to online sales, with thousands of entrepreneur companies across Ireland finding new and innovative ways to be able to service their customers base throughout the lockdown. This is evidenced by the 160% increase in ecommerce revenue for retailers in Ireland in 2020, accelerating from the average 32% per year growth experienced in 2017 to 2019.
Strengthen Facebook is building on Facebook’s existing support program for SMEs which includes providing € 4.6 million by 2020 to more than 1,000 small businesses across Ireland. Grants are a combination of cash, to help cover essential fees and payroll, and ad credits to help SMEs generate revenue through online marketing and sales.
“Our research shows that SMEs suffered during the pandemic, which is why helping to drive their recovery is important,” said David Harris, director of global business at Facebook. “Business owners in Ireland are learning to embrace the benefits that digital and social media channels can play in growing and driving sales. People are buying directly through social media with 8 to 10 Instagram users discovering new products or services on the platform.However, for some business owners, the idea of pivoting to online retail may seem daunting.Through the Boost with Facebook program , we will offer 10,000 small businesses in Ireland free training that will give them the digital skills to compete in what is a rapidly changing market.It is based on our support for SMEs in 2020 which includes providing € 4.6 million to SMEs across Ireland. “
SMEs are the engine room of the Irish economy, accounting for three out of five private sector jobs and employing more than a million people. The recovery of small and medium sized businesses is crucial to the recovery of the Irish economy after the financial crash, and with the unemployment rate currently over 22% it will play a key role in our recovery from in Covid.
Irish businesses interested in registering for Boost on Facebook, the free digital skills training can register by visiting www.facebook.com/irelandboost
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